Solutions that don’t break the bank, reinvent the wheel or marginalize our teachers are within our grasp. We could have rigorous classes, safe and disciplined schools and treat teachers like professionals, and we could do so tomorrow if we wanted. That’s why I am running for School Board… to make sure this happens.
By Whitney Reddick and Alycia Campbell
When contemplating the return to school I have no doubt that the discussion is difficult and pacifying all parties is going to be a tough feat. However, starting school in a face to face setting is a dangerous outset. The cost both monetary and to safely do so is not a track I am willing to place our students, my peers, or myself on as a stakeholder.Also, what message are we conveying to our educational community about how much we care? Not just teachers but all those who serve to teach our children daily from janitorial staff to administration? In all honesty, none. We are telling them that they are expendable. That we want to place them on the front lines to contract the illness and help create herd immunity.
Essentially, we are telling them they do not matter. Why would we risk one of the most valuable resources our community has? These are teachers who, no doubt, want to be back in the classroom yet we are taking away their ability to effectively teach by restricting movement, materials (no sharing), true social interactions, and bonding. A great teacher can bond with students, no matter the setting.
Below is a run-through of some of the questions that are keeping my husband and me up talking (and crying) at night:
- When one of us contracts COVID, how do we isolate with our son and elderly father in the house to try to protect them?
- What if we both go down at the same time?
- If one of us goes into the ICU, who helps with my family members who can’t care for themselves? What if we both get hospitalized?
- What does life on welfare look like for us if we are forced with the decision to sign a liability waiver or quit?
- How long can we go without pay when we inevitably run out of sick days? (Hint-0 days)
- We need to make a will.
- What happens if one of us dies?
That was our very real conversation last night that left my head spinning. I hope it left you feeling as unnerved as it left me.
It’s not hyperbolic. I’m not being an extremist. Jacksonville’s positivity rate yesterday was 20.9%, and we had 600 new cases. We are a hotspot in the US, which also means a global hotspot.
It is safe to assume that within the first week we will come in contact with this highly contagious and deadly virus. The viral load will get to be so high that we will get sick.I know you want schools to open. We do too, but not face to face until we have two weeks of no new cases.
Teachers should not be punished with facing the brunt of this virus, unprepared and underfunded, because the leaders at the top have failed to contain it.
If you wish to support your local teachers, hear our cry loud and clear. Listen to our questions. Do not push our concerns aside.
We matter, children matter, my peers matter, my family matters, I MATTER.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to understand my concerns,
From the Palm Beach Post,
Students in Palm Beach County public schools will continue learning from home when classes resume next month after school board members concluded Wednesday the risks of reopening classrooms were too great.
From the Miami Herald,
Miami-Dade County Public Schools won’t be able to reopen schools, as a new state order calls for, if the county is still in its Phase 1 reopening stage, which county leaders are tightening due to a surge of COVID-19 cases, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Tuesday.
If conditions continue on the same upward trajectory — Florida’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past two weeks to more than 213,000 — Carvalho said in an interview with the Herald that he did not foresee MDCPS “being able to resume schooling in a traditional way.”
If the county is still in Phase 1 by the start of school Aug. 24, as it is now, schooling would be held entirely online.
From the Tampa Times,
Reversing a position that stirred anxiety among public school staff and families, Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis announced Tuesday that teachers and students must wear masks when campuses reopen in August.
Previously, Davis had said masks would be encouraged, but optional. He changed his mind after consulting with medical, education and community leaders, and hearing from many teachers and parents.
“This is a movement that must be taken in order to protect our children,” Davis said. “My responsibility is to take every proactive step I can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
From the Orlando Sentinel,
The Orange County school district likely will give parents three options for how their children are educated when the new school year starts next month: a return to in-person, on-campus classes or two online choices that would keep students studying at home.
As Orange school leaders spent hours Tuesday discussing the options for reopening schools, upset teachers paraded in cars around district headquarters, urging them to keep campuses closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
From the Sun-Sentinel,
South Florida students won’t be required to return to brick-and-mortar classrooms next month, despite a state order Monday that mandates the opening of school five days a week when the new school year starts.
The order leaves the decision to local officials based on health considerations. South Florida school officials say it would be difficult to have everyone return to school safely as the coronavirus pandemic continues its relentless spread.
Virtual learning, mandatory masks, and options for families not for teachers.
These are interesting and scary times.
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
These are the facts,
Yesterday Florida had 9,989 cases of the coronavirus.
604 were in Jacksonville, and we had a 20 percent infection rate.
These numbers are going in the worn direction, but so is the state with their rush to open schools.
Here is another fact,
When schools open, people will get sick, and they will close. It’s not a matter of if but when and how many. We are risking the lives and the health of children and teachers for what? A couple weeks of daycare? Mark my words, the cost of opening schools will be one we regret paying.
To learn more about the coronavirus affects children, click the links,
Um, so following their recommendations is an excuse? How does that compute? Every effort seems to include, risk their teacher’s lives.
So here is the thing, since the president didn’t like the recommendations, the new plan is to get new recommendations.
From the USA Today,
So this is what the upside-down is like?
For those scoring at home.
Trump tweeted he didn’t like the CDC guidelines and was going to talk to them.
The CDC then said, why would somebody use our guidelines?
Now we are getting new guidelines.
Sadly the CDC has just traded its credibility and an unknown amount of lives for a few months of employment. Shame on them.
Between you and me I would walk out today if I wasn’t a single parent. I applied for secretary and editor and paralegal this morning just to try and get out. I’ve wanted to teach since I was ten years old but I can’t take this anymore.
And I know it’s babyish but I have been crying since 8 this morning when my principal emailed me and told me I had to move classrooms. I am so stressed and overwhelmed and panicked that crying is about all I can do.
I tried to assure them they were not alone and that hundreds, maybe thousands of teachers felt the same way but I don’t think I helped.
Friends we have a huge decision to make and it’s to be inconvenienced or to risk lives.
It’s to lose teachers like above one way or another, or it’s to do better.
TEACHERS ONLY WANT TO TEACH SAFELY. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? -MORE QUESTIONS
Here are some other questions we should ask ourselves:
*Will there be time to sanitize between classes? Whose responsibility will that be?
*What is reported and to whom when a teacher gets Covid?
*Will a teacher catching Covid be covered by workman’s compensation?
*Will students be allowed to meet in the same classroom that has a Covid event?
*What is the turnaround time before the room is allowed to be used again if the virus is present?
*Are there any penalties in place for students and teachers who refuse to wear masks all day?
*Will there be any extra pay for substitute teachers willing to take the risk to cover classes?
*Will cleaning supplies such as Clorox wipes, Lysol spray to kill Covid droplets, and hand sanitizer be provided for at least 180 students for 180 days?
*Where will teachers be when the students are at lunch? We are entitled to a duty-free lunch period, so what happens if the kids are not utilizing the cafeteria?
*Will teachers be responsible for distributing breakfast again along with lunch due to social distancing rules?
*Will teachers be required to provide tutoring in the brick and mortar setting too?
*What happens with classroom situations where there are no windows to the room, and doors must stay locked for safety reasons?
*Will social distancing be practiced at fire drills, or will we stop having them due to Covid?
*Will teachers be required to monitor the halls at high schools with 1,500 to 3,000+ students and the virus floating by?
*What happens if a teacher refuses to download an app on their phone?
*What happens if the teacher phone breaks and they can’t check in? Sh*t happens!
*Will parents be allowed in the schools without masks?
*Will there be exceptions to wearing masks for kids who parents that do not believe in them?
*Will teachers be required to use some form of Teams even if they are in a brick and mortar setting in case the schools are shut down again?
*Will the auditorium be used for mass gatherings such as programs where students can sing and dance?
*Will teachers be required to share medical information such as they are having allergy issues instead of Covid? Will they need a doctor’s note stating such?
*Are there any HIPPA violations to consider?
*Will parents be required to wear masks at parent/teacher conferences? Will teachers have a right to refuse a face-to-face meeting if the parent refuses to wear a mask?
*Will parents be required to submit and keep a working phone number for the school to reach them in the event of an emergency?
*What is the “hard” criteria for sending a child to a nurse if there is one available, or who will be responsible for sending a sick child home?
*Will the state be willing to shut down the schools if the flu numbers tick up along with Covid?
*How high will the Covid numbers have to be before anyone with a brain decides that it is not safe for everyone to return to school? What is the number?
*How many students and teachers have to die before the leaders of the nation get it that the virus is not going to go away?
*What is the plan for the second wave of Corona virus?
1) How many current administrators and 12-month employees have tested positive for COVID and in what schools?
- How have you tracked this number (if you have)? What are the procedures and policies for administrators, teachers, and staff who test positive for COVID-19? Currently, there are no guidelines or guidance within Jacksonville for those who have tested positive. There is very little if any contact tracing in the community. Will you contact trace in the schools? For instance, if a MS student in a class tests positive and you become aware of it, will all her/his classmates and teachers then be quarantined? That is a CDC best practice.
2) Is it true that MS and HS buildings will only be using half of the spaces in each building to save on cleaning costs, thereby negating the social distancing opportunities from only having half the students on campus at one time? If this is true, why has it not been made clear to the public? When parents and students and staff hear about students rotating through the school so only half are there on a given day, the easy assumption is that schools will be optimizing social distancing. We have a right to know if this is not the case. Anything else appears intentionally deceptive.
3) Do you recognize the racial implications for your reopening plans when people of color are being infected and dying at rates 3x that of whites? Those harrowing statistics are true BOTH national and here locally in Duval. Our nation and community has not only been gripped by the COVID pandemic but also the pandemic of systemic and structural racism. What is a policy that puts at-risk Black and other people of color at a rate 3x that of white people if not an example of systemic racism?
- Mandatory mask-wearing is essential here. We cannot depend on the guidance of a politically compromised mayor.
- Reference; https://www.
nytimes.com/interactive/2020/ 07/05/us/coronavirus-latinos- african-americans-cdc-data. html?action=click&module=Top% 20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
We are extremely excited to reconnect with our students to begin the 20-21 school year. However, as art educators at the elementary and secondary levels, we have the following abbreviated concerns:
1. Because we either serve every student in the building or within our program, we do not understand why masks are not being made mandatory in class, especially with the well-proven data that details the level of risks according to mask usage. When masks are not reciprocal it raises the risk of contraction, and breaks the consistency of habit, as well as sends a message that teachers’ and classmates’ lives are not valued.
2. While we completed the survey in May, Covid-19 data has significantly changed. We have not been given options to safely teach from home as the schedule allows, for example on the designated day when students will be out of the building (secondary).
3. We want to ensure that we, and our students have the tools necessary to deliver a high-quality, engaging art program. Sharing communal supplies as typically practiced, does not follow CDD guidelines. This can be remedied by assembling home kits for students to utilize as needed.
4. Because of the proposed plan to return to school In-Building, especially after most have been in volunteer isolation for several months, we are concerned about being exposed to asymptomatic settings.
5. We have seen public displays of adults behaving poorly; if the proposed health recommendations and requirements are not somehow included in the Student Code of Conduct, these practices will not be taken seriously by our students.
We thank you for your time and consideration for the opportunity to voice our concerns. If the health and safety of all DCPS stakeholders cannot be guaranteed, we strongly urge that the opening of the 20-21 school year begin entirely via Duval Homeroom.
Middle School Art
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team
Districts 3 and 6
Elementary Art Itinerant
Member of Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team
When contemplating the return to school via face to face learning I have no doubt that the discussion is difficult and pacifying all parties is going to be a tough feat. However, starting school in a face to face setting is a dangerous outset.
The cost both monetary and to safely do so is not a track I am willing to place our students or teachers on as a stakeholder. I want to know what the policy will be for when a child in a classroom becomes ill?
What happens if that teacher has a child that attends another school? Did the district consider spending the money technology, or technical assistance to help safely return instead of going for physical barriers first?
Also, what message are we conveying to our educational community about how much we care? Not just teachers but all those who serve to teach our children daily from janitorial to administration. In all honesty, none. We are telling them that they are expendable. That we want to place them on the front lines to contract the illness and help create herd immunity.
Essentially, we are telling them they do not matter. Why would we risk one of the most valuable resources our community has? These are teachers who, no doubt, want to be back in the classroom yet we are taking away their ability to effectively teach our students by restricting movement, materials (no sharing), true social interactions, and bonding.
A great teacher can bond with students, no matter the setting. Please allow this to occur without a mask, plexiglass, and rigorous hand washing.
Allow our children to grow, for now, via online learning. Another standpoint I have seen parents and community members share is that the effect of distance learning is harming a child’s social abilities.
I would argue this point mute because seeing your friends in person yet having to stay at a safe distance, respond to them through a plexiglass shield, and the lack of true human interaction will, in fact, cause more harm than good.
I feel that when students see their peers, teachers (including resource), and friends online will provide a healthier approach to social interaction for the time being